Hello and welcome to Patchwork House . . . . .
my little corner of the world in England, where you will find me addicted to colour and playing with yarn!

28 January 2018

Rainbow baby blankets

 This winter I've been making rainbows!
I love the simplicity of these baby blankets
 that are very quickly finished. I have chosen 7 shades
 to make a rainbow, with a contrasting background colour
 and made 7 different versions so far! They have been
 so popular on
 that I thought I'd make a permanent record
 of the colour recipes here for you!

 Of course in true Patchwork Heart fashion
 there's been a lot of mug matching going on as you can see here! 

I've been playing with colour recipes for girls,
 colour recipes for boys, neutrals that should suit all tastes,
 pastels, brights and more muted tones,
 so I'm hoping there will be something here to please all!

If you are new to crochet 
then a granny square baby blanket is a perfect beginners project.
You can follow my 
and learn how I make my blankets so perfectly square!
When you've completed the square to the size that you want add a 
 and bingo your blanket complete!

All the blankets are made in
 and I have used a 3.5mm hook
 (but you need to use whatever suits your tension.
 The recommended size on the ball band is 4mm).
You need 2 balls of the background colour
 and small amounts of the 7 colours.
 My blankets are approximately 60cm square.

You can now find these rainbow baby blankets for sale in my Etsy shop!

 Here are the colour recipes underneath each photo:

1. Lipstick, spice, saffron, pistachio, aster, plum and magenta
 on a parchment background.

2. Fondant, shrimp, citron, pistachio, aspen, bluebell and wisteria
 on a soft peach background.

3. Candyfloss, apricot, lemon, spring green, sherbet, wisteria and clematis
on a white background.

4. Pomegranate,blush, saffron, pistachio, aspen, wisteria and magenta 
on a cream background.

5. Lipstick, spice, saffron, kelly green, aster, plum and magenta
on a grey background.

6. Claret, tomato, mustard, kelly green, turquoise, plum and magenta
on a petrol (blue) background

Here is a collage
 to help you compare and choose which to make.

I definitely have a passion for crocheting rainbows,
 now my hook has turned to spotty blankets!
 Keep watching this spring for more spotty creations
 and more colour recipes to entice you!

7. Claret. tomato, mustard cypress, storm blue and grape
 on a teal background

 is such a wonderful tool for us crochet addicts
 with a colour palette of over 80 shades to choose from!

I am delighted to announce
 that soon some of these colour recipes will be available in my

Do remember to share your makes in the 
I love to see what my makes have inspired you to do!

I wish you all lots of colourful hours crocheting rainbows
x x x

The Black Forest Blanket

This beautiful colour recipe began years ago,
 with an order for a customer. As I worked with these
 fabulous shades of Stylecraft Special DK
 it conjured up images of chocolate cake and berries
 and so the name Black Forest, from the gateaux, was born!

The colour recipe has attracted so much attention from my followers.
You need 1 each of
 walnut mocha stone cream plum grape pale rose
 and 4 parchment for joining.
You can buy this yarn

I've used the colour pack for many creations and it always looks fabulous.

If you are a beginner a simple granny square is the place to start.
You can follow the instructions for

A cushion is a quick simple project.
You can follow my 
Wrap Around Cushion Cover tutorial

Recently I've added a custom order slot to my Etsy shop,
 so that people can order a hot water bottle at any time of year
 and have it made in their own choice of colours and design.
 The black forest hot water bottle was born
 and is proving to be a popular request!
You can visit my Etsy shop

So it seemed a good idea to use this colour pack for a new blanket.
I have made many of these over the years
 but they have all been given away,
 so at last its time to have one here at Patchwork House.

The pattern I have used is the Starburst Flower by Jane Brocket.
It is in the book called
The Gentle Art of Knitting (it contains some crochet too!)
and was also in issue 2 of Mollie Makes magazine.
You can buy the book HERE from just £3.44

There are also many free patterns available,
you can try a search for starburst flower and its also called sunburst granny. 
You will find patterns on Ravelry, Pinterest and You Tube.

Planning with this pattern is easy
 as each square measures approx 10cm when I use a 4mm hook.
I have made 144 flowers which I arranged in 12 rows of 12,
this has made a blanket 120cm square.
 You could also do 10x14 or 11x13 if you prefer a rectangular throw.

Before you start you need to the maths.
I need 144 middles and have 7 colours.
so if I make 20 of each colour I will then need 4 more to make 144.

So the production line began making 20 of round 1 in each colour.
I love to work as a production line. You brain and fingers remember
 the stitch and if you make 20 from the same ball of yarn
 you are not wasting time changing colours.
When each middle is finished I make a reef knot with the 2 tails. 
This will not show but will ensure that your work will never come undone.
 Leave tails of about 4 inches / 10cm.

I like to keep my work organised on a tray
then I can see at a glance where I am up to and nothing gets lost!

Next its time to plan round 2 and this is where my fun starts!
 I absolutely love this stage of planning the colour combinations!
 If you follow this system, its really easy to make sure
 all 144 flowers are unique and that you have no repeats.

Lay out your 7 balls.
Take 1 set of middles, here I am using plum.
Share out the middles so that there are 3 on some and 4 on others.
So you can see here there will be 4 plum middles with a cream round 2, 
3 with a walnut round 2 and of course there are none by the plum.

Take the next colour, here I have grape and again share them out
 so there are 3 on some and 4 on others.
I try to keep an equal number to ensure the finished blanket will look balanced

Keep on doing this with all your middles until you have 20 lined up by each ball,
 then add the 4 extras,1 on each of any 4 colours.

If you have children or pets, you will now need to put each ball of yarn
 with their 20 or 21 middles, in a small plastic bag to keep them safe! 
This also makes your work portable
 and easy to grab when you want to take your crochet out.

That little bit of planning now makes it easy for you to work efficiently on round 2.
Sitting down with a cuppa (in a matching mug of course),
 I can now quickly make 20 round 2 from the same colour
 and have the satisfaction of a pile done in no time!
I love the starburst flower pattern as each round is a different stitch,
 which adds lovely variety to your work. So again working
 in batches helps your fingers and brain to pick up the rhythm
 of the pattern quickly and before you know it you've got another pile done!

Now something I'm always asked about is what do I do with the ends.
 Some of you seem to hate them,but I never worry about these.
 If you want colour you have ends, that's just part of the process.
 In this pattern its easy as the stitches are very close,
 you can hold the ends from round 1 and 2 at the back of your work
 and crochet over them. Then when you've finished round 2 simply cut off any remaining tails from round 1.

A few days later all the round 2 is complete
 and now its time to plan round 3 in exactly the same way as you did before.
 Make sure as you plan that you never repeat a colour in any flower,
 it should have 3 different colours. Again sort them,
 so that you have 20 on each ball and the 4 extras can go on any. 

I find great pleasure in seeing the flowers accumulating in my basket.
You can see here the small balls wound from the leftover yarn. So you have used nearly all of the colour pack making 144 flowers. If you want to make a larger blanker simply order 2 packs.

This tray looks so edible doesn't it!
Cookies, macaroons or chocolate cake,
 whatever is your fancy! Working with this pack
 is sure to make you want to indulge in some lovely hooky snacks!

Finally its time to join and the fun now is laying out the 144 flowers in 12 rows of 12.
I try to keep the layout balanced by having roughly the same number of each outer colour in each row. It takes some time and several  rethinks but is a really worthwhile activity.

When I have arrived at my final plan I label each row
then stack up the rows in my basket for safe keeping.
 Even though we have no pets or small children,
 I'm not risking my layout being disturbed!

The next stage is to make the circles into squares.
In the pattern this is round 4.
 If you do make round 4, you would then be ready to join your squares
 either by sewing or crocheting them together.
 I have 2 tutorials that would be helpful here

However my preferred way of joining for this blanket
 is using the continuous join as you go method.
 This way the whole blanket is joined in 1 go, with no cutting of the yarn.
 This means a huge saving of time
 as there are 288 ends less by not making each square!
 Wow think about that!
Learn this method and you will never go back!

If you have never done this before
 start by reading my original tutorial,
 for joining squares using the continuous join as you go.
 This will teach you the direction in which to work
 and how to join 1 row and then add the 2nd and the 3rd and so on.

Once you understand the direction to work in
the only difference is for how to add circles instead of squares.
You will need to read the new tutorial for this

So you join the circles in row 1

then add row 2

row 3 and 4
 and before you know it its starting to feel more like
 a blanket than a scarf!

I was delighted to realise that this black forest colour recipe
 goes perfectly with my lovely chair!
 I like to work here in the mornings
 as the daylight is very good here with 2 windows behind me. 
So this is where the blanket is going to live!

The continuous join as you go method,
 produces a lovely texture to the blanket, adding an extra dimension I think.

Finally when all your rows are added
 and the joining is complete, its time for edging the blanket.
As you can see here in this picture below, the edge is not quite straight.
So to begin with I always add a foundation row before making the edging,
 to level this out.

I simply made 1 round of dc, (UK crochet terms)
 1 in each stitch and 3 in the corners,
 but where my hook is pointing we need to level out the dip.
 So at this point I used trebles as a taller stitch is needed.
You are going to treble 2 together.
In the corner of the right square make half a treble
 and leave it on the hook (2 loops),
 then in the corner of the left square make half a treble, (4 loops)
now pull the yarn through all 4 creating 1 stitch. 
Continue around the whole blanket
 and finish the round with a slip stitch into the first dc.

For round 2 I made a very simple edging.
Chain 3, dc in the same stitch.
Miss a stitch.
Slip stitch in next stitch,
This edging will nicely go around the corners
 and finishes off the blanket well.

If you would rather add a deep border
 simply order 1 extra ball of parchment and you will then be able to do that.

It has been a pleasure to share this lovely colour pack with you.
Please remember to share your photos of your work in the
 I'd love to see your work in these colours.

Writing tutorials about my crochet is my work. Unpaid work.
 To produce this blog post has taken weeks of crochet,
 hours of photography, editing of photographs
 and days spent writing at my computer.
It is my pleasure to share my work and to encourage others to have a go.
 Crochet brings me such joy and satisfaction
 and if I can pass this on to others who may also suffer with chronic illness,
 then I have job satisfaction. The rhythmic action of crochet
 and the concentration required takes me to a better place
 and I hope it will help you too.

If you have enjoyed this blog post
 please consider making a donation via Paypal
 to help support my work here at The Patchwork Heart.
You can donate using the app
 on the sidebar of the blog when viewed on a computer.

I hope you have many happy hours with your hook
enjoy the crochet therapy
x x x

Continuous Join As You Go With Circles Tutorial

This tutorial is an addition to my first
It is an addition
 with just a change of a few stitches for when joining circles.
 You must read the original tutorial first.
Both tutorials use UK crochet terms.

So you have made yourself a lovely stack of circles
 and are ready to make them into squares and join.
The circles I am joining are the starburst flower by Jane Brocket.
The pattern is in the book The Gentle Art of Knitting 
and in Mollie Makes magazine issue 2.

 This all in 1 method replaces round 4 of the pattern
 and joins the motifs for you in 1 go with the bonus of no more ends!

Lay your motifs out in the desired arrangement for your blanket.
Label each row and store the stacked rows in a safe place.

Grab yourself a cuppa, the pile for row 1,
 your joining colour, hook and we are ready to go!
Familiarise yourself with the tutorial for joining squares,
you can read it
If you have used this before, you will know how easy it is
 and so all I am going to do now,
 is teach you how to adapt that method for joining circles.

I am right handed
 so begin in the top right hand corner of square 1
 and am working right to left across the first row of the blanket.
 (Left handers make a mirror image
 and start at the top left corner and work left to right.)

We are going to make 5 groups of stitches to
 travel across the top of the square.
In the joining squares tutorial you will remember that
 these are all groups of 3 trebles as the square has a straight edge.

Now here is the most important part of this whole tutorial.
To turn the curved edge of the circle into a straight edge
 we need stitches of different heights.

Begin with 3 double trebles in the first space (the longest stitch)
then 3 trebles in the next space (a medium sized stitch)
then 3 half trebles in the 3rd space (the shortest stitch)
then 3 trebles in the 4th space 
and 3 double trebles in the 5th space.
This is the first side of square 1.
You can see that we now have a straight edge.

Now you are ready to turn the corner.
Make 1 chain then a group of 3 double trebles in the same space.
then 3 trebles
then 3 half trebles
then 3 trebles
and then 3 double trebles.
You have now reached the next corner and can see the square appearing.
 You are ready to turn and attach the next circle.

Make 1 chain then begin with 3 double trebles into the 2nd circle.

Now we have to connect to the first square
 in the same way we did in the first tutorial.
 You can read about it in more detail there.

Put your hook under the first space on the first square

pull the yarn through the space (2 loops on hook)
then pull the 2nd loop through the first one

Now you are ready to continue making the side of square 2
 attaching to the side of square 1 as you go
 between every group of stitches. 

The rest is the same as in the first tutorial.
Keep going attaching all the circles for row 1 from right to left.

Then return across the bottom in the direction of the yarn shown here,
 from left to right across this picture below.

If you are new to this method
 it is important that you understand
 the direction in which you are working.
 This map will help.

So at this point we add row 2
and are not going to complete the 4th side of the first circle,
 that will be done at the very end.

Off we go with row 2
 joining the first circle from row 2
 to the first circle from row 1,
 using our groups of 3 stitches
 which change in height as we go across,
 making the circle become a square.
When you reach the corner link into the corner of row 1 square 2
 diagonally opposite, then turn
 and continue down the 2nd side of row 2 circle 1.

Keep going and have fun!
Before you know it 
you have a few rows and it looks like a scarf!

A few more rows and you can sit under it!

Then in a few days you have a blanket!

If you would like to read more about how this
 Black Forest Starburst flower blanket was made
 you can read

You can buy the yarn
You need Stylecraft Special DK
1 each of walnut, mocha, stone, cream, plum, grape, pale rose
and 4 parchment for joining

This tutorial comes to you free.
 It is my pleasure to share and encourage others with their crochet.
 However please understand that this takes weeks to crochet,
 hours to photograph and edit pictures
 and days at the computer writing the tutorial.
During which time I am not earning money
 from making items to sell.
If you have found this helpful
 please support my work here at The Patchwork Heart
 by making a small donation. You can do this via PayPal
 using the app on the sidebar when this is viewed on a computer.

Thank you for reading 
and I wish you all lots of happy hooky adventures!

x x x

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